Some developers take on more work than they can handle, but Epoch Residential sets limits to maintain quality, President and COO Justin Sand states. “The [goal] of this company is to do three or four projects a year, and we’re going to stay at that pace,” he states.
Based in Winter Park, Fla., Epoch Residential specializes in multifamily real estate management and development in the Southeast and Sunbelt. Since its start in 1970, the company has developed more than 34,000 units and managed over 100,000 units in 55 cities.
Sand explains that the company originally started as two separate firms: Epoch Properties and Epoch Management. In the last 18 months, both merged to form Epoch Residential, which has since been reorganized, he says.
This has involved “everything from a new logo to reevaluating internal feelings about the company,” Sand explains. “Part of the goal was to put a more modern look and feel to the branding. [We also wanted] to tighten up the messaging so that it is clear across the board.”
Today, Epoch Residential employs a staff of more than 200 associates. Although it does business in multiple regions, “We’re not a national builder like some of the big names out there,” Sand says.
“We’re really more of a regional developer/operator,” he states, noting that the company enjoys repeat business in its markets. “We get to know who the players are and we work with [the right] people to do a good job.”
The company also has a strong record. “We’ve never lost an investor’s money or given a project back to the bank,” he says. “That’s pretty rare for somebody in our business, considering how long we’ve been at it.”
Second to None
Epoch Residential’s current projects include Capital Place, which consists of two buildings with 292 residential units in downtown Phoenix. “[The buildings are] separated by a block of light rail,” Sand describes.
Each unit, he notes, will feature top-of-the-line finishes, upgraded cabinetry and appliances, and energy conservation features. “We have been following [LEED], the national green building standard,” Sand says, noting that the project team has used recycled materials and incorporated efficient HVAC systems and low-flow faucets and toilets.
“The apartments are as nice as any class ‘A’ luxury apartment in Phoenix,” he continues. “The amenities package is second to none.”
This includes a pair of elevated swimming pools, two fitness centers and two clubrooms. “We have two of everything,” Sand says, noting that residents also will enjoy scenic views of Camelback Mountain. “I really feel like we’ve got a great package to bring to market.”
Sand joined Epoch Residential in 2004 and took his current role in the past year. “The industry has evolved a lot since I’ve been here,” he says, noting that the company has seen strong activity in the multifamily sector.
Clients’ desires for features also have changed. “People have pretty high expectations for the fit and finish,” he says, noting that granite countertops are a must, along with stand-up showers and vinyl plank flooring in living areas. “A lot of these things that were upgrades a year ago are the base line for much needed development.”
The company also is preparing for an inevitable slowdown in demand. “A good question is how long is this cycle going to last,” Sand says. “There’s a concern that this market doesn’t have as much runway as it [seems to]. I think we’re trying to be cautious about that.”
Rising interest rates and the risk of oversupply in certain markets are other areas of concern. “Those things are always factors that we monitor,” he states.
But he still predicts strong growth for Epoch. “There are some demographic [trends] that are happening that have made multifamily as popular as ever,” he says.
“Some of that will bleed off [but] I think the renter lifestyle is here to stay,” he says. “Customer demands are only going to increase. You’re going to see more rental product built in these growing metros.”